Laura Meder,meder2
Associate Professor of Biology

Phone: 434-791-5770
Office: Frith Hall 309

“You get the travel bug,” says Professor Laura Meder, summing up one way she influences her Biology students. Yes, she has always been interested in animals (she currently has nine cats), but travel with Biology majors — ah, international travel — that’s one special key to her success.

“Whenever we can get our students outside the classroom and even outside the country, that’s when they learn the most,” she says. “Going outside gets them to recognize the value of pushing themselves in different directions. And you know, that learning experience is different every time, every day, for every student.”

Meder certainly has taken her students “outside.” She has conducted study trips to places as exotic as Africa (for the animals and for a different ecosystem), Belize (to study dolphins), Suriname (for sea turtles) … plus Costa Rica and Mexico.  “Short (one-week to nine-day) trips are baby steps, aimed at students who have never traveled,” she explains. “When they like that, they consider taking trips of a month or longer.”

She adds that one student worked last summer as an Alaskan river guide, one Suriname-trip student now lives in Korea and another is planning another international trip.  “The trips let us get to know them really well,” she says, “although we certainly know all our students, even those who do not choose to travel. As biology teachers, we have them for labs as well as lectures, and that helps a lot. In the labs we work with them individually, plus we get to talk while we’re waiting for experiments to complete.”

Meder believes in introducing students to people and networks that can start them thinking about new paths and different options for their own lives: “Teaching, to me, is all about helping students recognize their own potential.”  One student at a time, at home and abroad.


Master of Science, Environmental Management, University of London

William T. Moore
Assistant Professor of Biology

Office: Frith 318
Phone: 434-791-5771



  • Ph.D. in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Molecular and Cellular Sciences Track, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Preparing the Future Professoriate Graduate Certificate, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • M.S. in Biology, Fort Hays State University
  • B.S. in Biological Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Diabetes, Metabolism, Insulin signaling, Human nutrition, Bioactive phytochemicals, Cell and molecular biology, Microbiology, Anti-microbial resistance, Contemporary pedagogy

Dr. Jimmy Turner III,
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Phone: 434-791-5836
Office: Frith Hall 316

To an Averett student: “Is Professor Turner here?” “Yes, right around the corner – he’ll be the one smiling.” “Really? Why?” “He’s almost always smiling. He’s that way, one of the good guys.”  That pretty much sums up Dr. Jimmy Turner — one of the good guys. No pretensions, always approachable and yes, almost always smiling. His students recognize his goodness, and they appreciate it. “He definitely got me more interested in Chemistry,” one says, adding, “he made it possible for me to understand. I’ll always be grateful.”

Ask Turner what he thinks his students would say about him, and the response is quick and simple: “I hope they’d say I was one who was willing to help.” He adds, “most of the students at Averett come here for the close interactions they can have with the faculty. To me, that means that they want to learn, so it’s a pleasure to help them. That’s really why we’re here.”

Turner earned his undergraduate degree at Averett, and it was then, he says, that he noticed the faculty’s deep dedication to the students. “I remember one field trip I took, to Chapel Hill for a weekend seminar, and my professor drove me there and back. I can tell you that at a large university, you would not be driven to a seminar by your professor.”

Turner’s involvement with his students extends beyond the day of graduation. Over a recent holiday, he heard from four former students, and another one was heading to town for a visit.  “I had one student who came to our house often to do his independent study, and I still hear from him every week,” he says. “He went to work as a chemist in Texas doing analysis, doing gas chromatography, and he’s now planning on going to graduate school. I’ll work to help him get in.”  Turner feels that the Averett students are dedicated to their education; they know that he is.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Theology, Biblical Life College and Seminary
  • Master of Divinity, Theology, Biblical Life College and Seminary
  • Master of Science, Organic Chemistry, Wake Forest University
  • Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, Averett College
  • Associate of Science, Science, Danville Community College

Stephanie Pattonssmith
Instructor of Biology

Phone: 434-791-7176
Office: Frith Hall 312




  • Master of Science, Human Anatomy, University of Dundee (Dundee, Scotland)
  • Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Science, Averett University